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Posts Tagged ‘boys soccer’

Uriel Liquidano sacrifices his head for the team. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

He was a new-school kid who played like an old-school athlete.

Uriel “Woody” Liquidano may have graduated in 2017, but his playing style would have made him a perfect fit back in the ’60s and ’70s.

Whether on the football field or the soccer pitch, the middle of three children (he followed big bro Oscar and preceded lil’ sis Estefanny) never left any doubt.

Uriel played hard, he played with passion, and he excelled as both an individual athlete and as a valuable link holding his team together.

Liquidano was joined by sister Estefanny, his parents, and one of his nieces on Senior Night.

The last time he walked off the Coupeville High School football field, I shook his hand and said something about how impressed I was with how he handled himself during his prep career.

Today, on his birthday, we’re following that up with something which should have happened a long time ago – we’re inducting him into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where he will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Oscar.

After this, you’ll find the brothers up at the top of the blog, living large under the Legends tab.

And why not?

Uriel played like a legend, while rarely being one to beat his own chest and scream about his greatness.

Instead, he yanked his helmet down on his head, locked eyes with opposing quarterbacks, then relentlessly chased them down, usually finishing plays having wrecked anyone foolish enough to get in his way.

Plop him on the soccer pitch as well, or the basketball court during his earlier days, and Uriel was just as much of a rampaging force of nature.

Pick a sport, and he was an enforcer.

On the gridiron, Uriel was a two-way starter, anchoring the offensive line, while rumbling on defense as a linebacker.

A team captain along with fellow Hall o’ Famers Clay Reilly and Jacob Martin, he led by example, busting his tail and delivering big plays.

Of all of his games in red and black, Uriel’s biggest probably came during his senior year, when he led a fired-up Wolves squad to a 41-10 thrashing of arch-rival South Whidbey as Coupeville retained possession of The Bucket.

As I wrote in the game story that night:

Senior Uriel Liquidano was a beast unleashed, spending most of his night gently cradling frightened Falcons as he slammed them to the turf after shedding would-be blockers.

Denied!

That smash-mouth playing style carried over to the soccer pitch, where he operated primarily as a defender for the Wolves.

Bust through Coupeville’s front line and Uriel was waiting to use and abuse you, sailing into battle with a huge smile on his face and his elbows set to “Crush Mode.”

An honor student off the field, and a guy who gave you everything he had from opening whistle to final whistle, he remains one of my favorite athletes to cover from the Coupeville Sports days.

So happy cake day, Uriel, best wishes for the future, and appreciation for the past.

You are the real deal, sir. Always have been, always will be.

Liquidano, Jacob Martin (32), and Clay Reilly (2) went out as champs, thrashing South Whidbey 41-10 as seniors.

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Nick Guay is set to make the leap from middle school sports to high school stardom. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Guay leads the charge on the soccer pitch.

Nick Guay is in it for the long haul.

As he prepares for his freshman year at Coupeville High School, the multi-sport athlete is committed to putting in the time and effort needed to continue his growth as an athlete and student.

“There is nothing you can’t stop working on,” Guay said. “(I want) to continue to be the best player I can be.”

During his middle school days, he suited up for Wolf football, soccer, and basketball teams, and he plans to keep playing the latter two sports during his time at CHS.

Guay tabs basketball as his favorite sport, is fond of the movie Harry and the Hendersons, and shows impeccable musical taste for someone of his age, opting for classic rock from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.

When he’s not practicing or playing in a game, he excels in his favorite classes — math and PE — and tries to spend as much time outside as possible.

“I love the outdoors and building things,” Guay said.

As he’s come up through the ranks, he’s made a name for himself as a hard worker and a hustler, an athlete willing to do whatever his team needs.

Guay hails his various coaches, and parents Dylan and Dina, for their guidance, and he enters high school with strong, team-orientated goals.

“(I want to) build a strong and positive team,” he said. “(I want to have) hard work, a positive attitude, and chemistry with other players.”

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A celebration of life has been set for South Whidbey High School senior Taylor Daniels, who died from injuries suffered in a car crash Monday in Freeland.

Daniels, 17, was a member of the Falcons soccer team.

He and older brother Nevin, 19, were turning onto Highway 525 from Honeymoon Bay Road and were hit by an oncoming truck.

The celebration of Taylor’s life is August 2 at the South Whidbey Sports Complex in Langley.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all attendees are asked to honor the state’s mandate to wear masks.

The event will be held outdoors, allowing for social distancing.

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Aram Leyva joins big bro Abraham and cousin Derek in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Same family, different playing styles, similar results.

Cousins Aram and Derek Leyva followed a trail of success blazed by Aram’s big brother, Abraham, but will be remembered for what they personally accomplished.

The duo were as talented as any soccer players ever to wear the red and black for Coupeville High School, and only a pandemic shutting down state schools could slow them down on the pitch.

Derek, who tallied 38 goals in just two seasons at CHS, finishes as the #2 scorer in Wolf boys soccer history, denied a senior season in which he likely would have passed Abraham, who hit the back of the net 45 times between 2014-2016.

While he might not have the career record, Derek does hold the CHS boys single-season mark, having made rival goalies look silly while recording 24 goals during his sophomore season.

No slouch himself, Aram rang up 29 goals of his own across three seasons, before he too lost his senior campaign to the pandemic.

Derek Leyva owns the Wolf boys soccer single-season scoring record.

On the pitch, Derek was a burst of silky lightning, often flying past defenders, then snapping their ankles with quick cut-backs, all while flicking the ball along like he was operating a yo-yo.

Let’s face it – I’m not a soccer expert.

I don’t always understand the subtle nuances of the beautiful game, or always properly appreciate the sport, but that didn’t stop me from responding to most of his eye-popping plays with a long, slow “Damn … Derek!”

And he wasn’t just a star on the pitch, returning to the same field to captivate people with his play on the football gridiron as well.

We knew Derek had a leg capable of launching the ball, regardless of the sport, so seeing him make his debut as a kicker felt right.

But, surprise!

He also had other skills, whether as a receiver on offense or operating as a defensive back, and it would have been nice to see him get more than the handful of games he ultimately played.

One game, or a series of them, didn’t matter, however.

Derek is that rare Coupeville athlete who operates on a higher plain, and we should appreciate whatever exploits we were allowed to enjoy.

Derek Leyva, on his way to ringing up another goal.

Same with Aram, who was a rough ‘n tumble dude while in action, in the best way possible.

Early on, he competed in track and field, and messed people up on the basketball court, but it was soccer, the family sport, where his star shone brightest.

Aram has a light touch with the ball, and can flick shots into the corner of the net, an inch away from a madly-scrambling goalie, just like his brother and cousin.

But he can also — and this is my favorite part of his game — run right over multiple defenders, carving a path of destruction as he rumbles to pay dirt.

Every time Aram took the pitch, the Wolf captain seemed to seek out contact, the harder the better.

The first time he backs down from a rival team, regardless of what pampered private school they hail from, well … that will be the first time, cause it never happened during his CHS days.

There’s a photo of Aram from back in his youth league days, and in it, he’s flinging two defenders airborne as he bulls his way to the ball, an unstoppable force of fury who happens to be smiling as he makes the turf rumble.

It’s kind of beautiful.

Aram Leyva, a pitch powerhouse.

It would have been great for the Leyva lads to get one more go-round in CHS uniforms this spring, Derek’s silky speed and Aram’s bone-crunching fury meshing together to decimate anyone stupid enough to stand in their way.

It didn’t happen, which is too bad, but a lost season does nothing to detract from the legacy they leave behind.

Future Wolf soccer players, both those who played alongside them, and those who will arrive in years to come, should aim to play like the duo. That is the route to success.

For today, we honor what they accomplished by inducting them into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where they’ll join Abraham.

After this, take a gander at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, and you’ll find all three Leyva men right where they belong.

They earned enshrinement with every eye-popping goal, every perfectly-placed pass, every brilliant play, every rugged display of “this is my frickin’ pitch, and YOU need to move!”

The gold standard for CHS soccer? Without a doubt.

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Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.

 

Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00

 

If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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